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Richmond, CA Prepares to Use Eminent Domain Against Wall Street Banks

 Hit by the worst housing crisis in decades, Richmond, CA became the first city in the nation to announce that it is moving forward with a plan to reduce mortgage principals for local homeowners in order to help families avoid foreclosure and eviction. As explained by the New York Times today, the City of Richmond's goal is to reduce families’ monthly mortgage payments and inject needed cash into the local economy.


Last night, municipal leaders in Richmond mailed letters to banks offering to purchase the mortgages at fair market value if the banks will sell voluntarily and expressing their willingness to use eminent domain to make compulsory purchases of the mortgages if necessary.


If you’d like to express support for this effort, we encourage you to sign this petition calling on the banks to accept the City of Richmond’s offer and sell the mortgages back to the community.


The City of Richmond's move is the result of a year-long campaign by homeowners in the Home Defenders League and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Homeowners in Richmond, a diverse working class city north of Berkeley, have mobilized to win affordable principal reduction; because Wall Street banks have been unresponsive, they have convinced their government to develop a local solution.


The Center for Popular Democracy is providing support to the Home Defenders League’s nationwide campaign, which is now moving forward in cities from New Jersey to Washington and California to New York. CPD is offering legal and policy support and, through Local Progress, helping to connect local elected officials with one another and with community-based organizations that are pushing for a resolution to the foreclosure crisis that protects homeowners and strengthens the economy. You can learn more about this solution by visiting the Local Progress website.


And, again, if you support reducing the principal on working-class families’ mortgages, please sign and share this petition calling on Wall Street banks to do right by Richmond families.